Monday, 18 February 2013

Photographing Paintings (Badly)

A little demonstration of how much photography of art work matters.

The first image I photographed yesterday, looked at it afterwards and decided to change the hairline on the left and the corner of my eye on the right a little bit - which I duly did, then re-photographed today. Nothing else changed.

Some of the difference in colour will be becasue the paint has "sunk" a little but most of it is the photography.

Why is this important? Because most artworks these days are seen by more people online than in real life. So much is therefore missed. Professional photography does make a big difference - but having just been in Paris I can see what is missed from the paintings in Google Art Project, for example. Don't get me wrong - Google Art Project (and the increased availability of images online) is a wonderful thing, better than books which fade or (to go back in time far enough) engravings after the original.

But I worry a little that work that reads well online and photographs easily will push out work that depends more on subtle contrasts. Possibly a needless worry, since everybody is struggling anyway. Also possibly a good thing - things must change, after all. But more open competitions are depending on online submission. This may be a good thing, allowing folks like me who don't live in London a better shot. We'll see.

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